Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Always Start With The End

In the startup world, you're always surrounded by uncertainty. There are always too many factors to consider, and your team members probably disagree. But you don't have to be paralyzed or choose blindly. Instead, follow this simple principle:
Always start with the end goals. Whenever you are stuck, refer back to those goals.
Our natural human reaction to all this uncertainty is to shift the scope to simplify the problem. Not a bad idea. The issue is that most of us instinctively narrow the scope. After all, that's the intuitive way to simplify.

However, narrowing the scope tends to produce tunnel vision and waste time on local optima. Think of all the times that the discussion of a complex problem goes down a proverbial rat hole as people focus on minutiae.

If you refer back to your end goals instead, you'll keep the team focused on what really matters.


John J. Walters said...

"Begin with the end in mind."

Paul said...

This is a great description of what I call the "Ultimately Principle" ... as in "Ultimately I/we would like _____ " which immediately refocuses on the "how to get there" task.

Chris said...


I like the "Ultimately Principle." Another way to do this is to say, "Where do you want to be in 3 years? Does what you're doing right now help with that?"

Paul said...


In that regard I have a spending rule: "How does this help me make money?" ...

People find it strange I don't own a couch ... or chairs ... or a TV ... I could ... but I've not yet found a way that a new couch can make me any money. I'm not going to spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars (on credit even) on something to SIT on ... How does having something to sit on help me in any way? A TV? How does that help me in any way get to my '3 years from now' ? It doesn't.

Perfect example - I bought a pair of shoes today ... been well over 2 years since my last new pair ... and these were on sale at 40 bucks ... extreme? Maybe so - but this is a tough economy - for me, it's been especially tough - and I just can't 'ration' the thought of spending frivolous money on something that won't somehow help increase my position.

Roby|PrestitiCessionedelQuinto said...

This principle is a good method to maintain strength and power ever achieve the objectives